07/16/2007 11:00PM

Royal breeding finally kicking in


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In theory, Cause She's Crafty should be dominating her fellow Illinois-breds, but reality - once again - has thrown a monkey wrench into theory.

Cause She's Crafty is Illinois-bred in name only. She's by the top-shelf sire Giant's Causeway, and was produced by the Crafty Prospector mare Crafty Oak, a graded stakes winner. Her owner-breeder, the Virginia Tarra Trust, must have figured they were getting a surefire statebred stakes horse when Cause She's Crafty made the races in 2005, but it has been an uphill battle for this 4-year-old filly.

At long last, however, Cause She's Crafty is showing signs of turning her pedigree into results. It took 11 tries and the better part of two years, but after a maiden win in October 2005, Cause She's Crafty won an Illinois-bred entry-level allowance race on June 24. Thursday, in Arlington's first race, Cause She's Crafty will try to make it two wins in a row when she tackles six rivals in an Illinois-bred second-level allowance.

The opener - the only allowance on a nine-race card - is scheduled for about 1 1/16 miles on turf, but the Chicago area is scheduled to have a week of rain, and Cause She's Crafty could wind up racing on Polytrack, where she would be a less appealing option. On turf, one need only look back to her June 24 victory to find a competitive effort. There, Cause She's Crafty broke from disadvantageous post 11, raced from near the back of the pack, and used a sustained stretch run to post a three-quarter-length victory over Gender Navy and a more highly regarded stablemate, Trigger Happy.

Cause She's Crafty has teased before, looming a winner at the quarter pole on many an occasion, but this time, she finally finished off her foes. Granted, Cause She's Crafty had a fast pace at which to run, but she came her final quarter-mile in about 24 seconds, and ran well enough to win right back against rivals of just about the same quality.

Ric Rac gets leading rider Rene Douglas and has won consecutive grass races this meet, and is an obvious threat to end Cause She's Crafty's modest win streak at one. A longer-priced alternative is Arizona Rose, who missed more than a year's worth of racing but appeared to be rounding back into form when, in the third start back from her layoff, she finished fifth last out under conditions identical to Thursday's.